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Thursday, May 29, 2008

When lawyers want to be farmers...

... we go to the farmer's market next to the office! Oh mother earth, how we long to get in touch with you! Anyway, here are my spoils:

Spring and fall rolls, here is the fall roll, yummy sauces too...

Hmm, spring roll...chomp, munch, chomp...

Cherries, so pretty and shiny

Strawberries (or as the Hong Kongers would say sidopeeli), so red and juicy...

CHOMP! Yummy strawberry...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Eggs of Steel!

My friend J once mentioned these eggs of steel, I guess they are a Taiwanese delicacy. They are kind of like a concentrated version of the five-spiced egg. You better have jaws of steel to gnaw on them and chomp them down. Not bad. Good for camping too. I am preparing an earthquake survival kit for my family, maybe I'll include these indestructible eggs in the kit too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

RIP iPod

My iPod passed away this weekend at the ripe old age of six months. RIP. Now, time to file a wrongful death law suit against Apple!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Childhood Home

I was browsing a photo collection of Art Deco buildings in Shanghai when I stumbled across two pictures of my childhood home. The building was probably built by the French in the early 1940s. My family moved in in 1952, shortly after the Communist takeover, when things weren't too bad for "evil" capitalists like my grandfather. The building had seven units, two on each floor with a penthouse on top. We occupied the apartment on the left side on the third floor. It is obscured by leaves in this picture.

The spiral staircase! How I remember it well. It is this that caught my attention. Our building was unique in that it had a back spiral staircase to go to the garage for the occupants. The garage was converted into a warehouse later on as nobody owned any cars after the political purges and the Cultural Revolution. The column in the middle of the spiral staircase is actually a trash chute. Legend has it, while the Red Guards were rushing up the front staircase to ransack our home, my grandmother threw her jewelries down the trash chute in the back since wearing jewelries was considered capitalist and indulgent. But alas, my aunt got a good beating from the Red Guards nevertheless.
Both photos courtesy of Meckleychina at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cat v. Hollywood

I went to the movie premiere for The Children of Huang Shi and one of the stars Michelle Yeoh happened to be there. She is prettier in person.

I wanted to take a picture for my blog, so I went up to her and was about to snap a shot when someone in a dark suit went like, shoosh shoosh, and told me to walk along, apparently the rule was: I could take a picture while walking pass Michelle, but I couldn't stop and take a picture of her... hence the blurry close up shot.

So, being the ever clever legal eagle, I proclaimed my constitutional right to be a paparazzi, to stop and snap a shot. And the security personnel's reply was that they had purchased the entire place and I had no constitutional right there. Ok, apparently they do have smarty security people. But, I felt it was a semi public arena. It was inside a mall and shares a walkway with Barnes and Noble. Look at these pictures:

Anyway, the movie was okay. I give them a 10 for the effort but eh, it could use some serious editing...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There is hope!

A baby was rescued. Sadly, his mom perished in the quake. When they found her, she was in a kneeling position protecting her baby with her body. Isn't he a precious little bundle?

This eleven year old boy carried his three year old sister for over ten hours to trek to a safe area. What a wonderful brother! (Their parents are migrant laborers working elsewhere and their grandparents were too weak to carry the sister.)

Students lining up for lunch at the Green Stone School in a photo taken before the quake.
The Green Stone provides education to children from impoverished families. The school was completely destroyed by the earthquake. But the children fortunately all made it out to the courtyard before the building collapsed. The three kids on the left could totally be cast in the Chinese version of the Little Rascals! Photo courtesy of Ralph Johnson at

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Red Cross Earthquake Relief Details

Villagers trekking to safe area after hearing reports that their village may be flooded by overflowing dam/lake. This picture gives you an idea of the difficulty of the terrain. (Click on picture for better view, it's so dangerous.) An aftershock or a landslide could easily kill these people. Indeed, I commend all the rescuers, they are risking their lives to save others.
photo courtesy of Nir Elias/Reuters

The village of Yinshiu was almost completely destroyed. This does not look like the aftermath of an earthquake, it looks like a bomb had been dropped on the village.

Here is what you can do to help. I have done some research online, and the consensus amongst Americans who work in the non profit area in China is that the Red Cross Society of China is the best organization to make your donation. Below is the bank account detail (for US currency donations) I obtained from the Chinese Red Cross' website. I made a wire transfer this afternoon. Please make sure you ask your bank whether there will be extra fees. If so, ask for a waiver. WAMU did not charge me anything to make the wire transfer. It is a bit of a hassle but your contribution will go directly to the organization that is most involved in the relief efforts instead of going through middle people.

Beneficiary: Red Cross Society of China
Account No. 7112111482600000209
Swift Code: CIBKCNBJ100
China CITIC Bank Beijing
Jiuxianqiao Sub-Branch
C&W Tower, No. 14
Jiuxianqiao Street, Chaoyang District
Beijing, China
Zip Code: 100016

Red Cross Society of China's Address (your bank will need this too)
Number 8 Beixinqiao Third Road
Dongcheng District
100007 Beijing, China

Alternatively, you can donate to American Red Cross' China Earthquake Relief fund at the link below. The American Red Cross has made a commitment of contributing US$10 million in cash to the Chinese Red Cross.

  • American Red Cross
  • Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Happy pictures, happy thoughts...

    Ok, I can no longer follow the earthquake anymore... I've cried so much that I have no more tears to shed. I've done some online research on how to contribute to the relief efforts. I am thinking about either donating to the Chinese Red Cross (which is one of the most reputable charitable organizations in China) or to an orphan fund to sponsor children who have lost families. The most difficult part is making donation from a US bank with US currency. I will try wire transfer this weekend and let you know the details later.

    After all the tears, here is a short footage to cheer you up. One of Sichuan's main attractions is giant pandas and there are several giant panda reserves near Chengdu. Here is the one that I went to visit one year (actually on Xmas day). It's called the Panda Base -- yep it houses baby panda soldiers :-). Look at them, they are so adorable and are sure to put a smile on your face!

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    NPR Report

    On my way back home, I heard this report from NPR's Melissa Block on the earthquake in China. Melissa happened to be on assignment in Chengdu with her co-host Robert Siegel when the earthquake struck. She reported on a couple's frantic effort to rescue their toddler son. I could not hold back my tears.

  • Mom is coming!
  • Earthquake Aftermath

    Horrible scene at a collapsed elementary school in Dujiangyan, China. Rest in peace little ones...May angels be with you and lead you to a place with lots of teddy bears, hugs and kisses...

    Please make a donation to earthquake relief in China and also to cyclone relief in Myanmar.

    Monday, May 12, 2008


    The city of Chengdu was close to the epicenter of the earthquake in China. It saddened me a great deal because I had spent quite a bit of time in Chengdu in the past three years. I hope all of our friends there are fine. Here are a few pictures from my trips to Chengdu, one around Xmas and the other Chinese New Years:

    Santa and Cat -- I bumped into Santa at supposedly the nicest shopping place in Chengdu. I think he was an American, not sure what he was doing in Chengdu.

    A Beer Hall in Chengdu -- oh yeah, there was a fantastic restaurant nearby that is built on top of a bridge so it overlooked the river. I also saw a Maserati parked in front of it. There are lots of rich people in China.

    A Chinese New Year's outdoor market next to the Sheraton Hotel -- saw some fancy preserved meats there...

    Like LA, Chengdu is terribly polluted. It is a fertile valley surrounded by mountain ranges, so the pollutions are all trapped inside. It is also known as the Foggy Capital -- but I'd say it's mostly pollution and not fog.

    The hot pot was so good. But after meal and meal of spicy foods, I had to take a break from spicy soup base. So in lieu of a yuan yang hot pot, I did a single flavored hot pot. I like the soup base, it's SO good.

    I also got a coconut drink which was really out of season and out of place.

    Earthquake in China

    This is terribly sad. I read news report that the epicenter is near the nature reserve for pandas. Hope both humans and pandas are doing well.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Cherry Blossom

    DC has a special place in my heart since I sort of grew up there. Here are a few pictures of the Cherry Blossom in DC taken this spring. So beautiful, it's like walking under pink clouds...

    A single blossom fluttering in the wind...

    Peekaboo! Jefferson Memorial -- the most beautifully situated memorial in DC

    A cluster of blossoms -- thanks Japan for giving the trees to us...

    Pictures courtesy of L

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    Who is Sun Nakayama?

    Answer: He is the founding father of modern China, aka Dr. Sun Yat-sen, aka Sun Chong Shan! But Sun Nakayama is how the Japanese pronounce his name!

    And as for our Dear Leader Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, he is called Mo Takuto! Imagine, dear Comrade Mo Takuto, let's go on the Long March! Haha!

    Apparently the Japanese think the way their names (which mostly use Chinese characters) are pronounced in Chinese is equally funny.

    To Pee or not to Pee...

    ...that is the question! Here is a timeline of events:

    I received a frantic call from a friend who had observed a little Asian boy and his mom/nanny? standing next to a tree with a little stream coming out him... The little boy's location exposed his private parts to basically all passerbys. So the question is -- is it right to allow a young child to relieve himself in public.

    I'd say, yes, but please find a more discreet location for goodness sakes. America is not a little village in Asia where villagers know each other and the creeps are banished elsewhere. There are lots of sickos in America, so although peeing is perhaps one of the most natural human acts, please keep your child near a more secluded tree. On the other hand, Americans need to ween their kids off of diapers asap. IMO, diapers are barbaric and it's shocking that kids as old as three or four could still be seen wearing diapers in America. Yuck!

    Saturday, May 3, 2008

    Hillary, I want my money back!

    I do believe now that Hillary will do anything to get elected, including but not limited to lying, making irresponsible statements, promising things that sound good but are bad for America... they've learned well from the likes of Mao, Stalin and the NeoCons, the secret to winning is to treat the public like idiots (well maybe we are)...

    I read this statement by Hillary. She takes a poem on inaction during the Holocaust to describe our losing jobs to India and China -- “They came for the steel companies and nobody said anything. They came for the auto companies and nobody said anything. They came for the office companies, people who did white-collar service jobs, and no one said anything. And they came for the professional jobs that could be outsourced, and nobody said anything.” How despicable.

    The truth is, we Americans need to get off of our lazy butts and study hard and be more competitive globally. If we'd only do that, we can totally out compete the rest because we have awesome political institutional foundation, higher education institutions (we attract the best and brightest the world over), natural resources and lots of good land... But no, Hillary decides to appeal to our worst instincts.

    I donated $100 to Hillary's campaign a few months ago and now I want my money back on the grounds of fraud, breach of express and implied warranty... cuz she is a liar! There are things worth losing an election over for -- things such as dignity.

    Friday, May 2, 2008


    I really enjoyed this past trip to DC. It was fun catching up with friends and see their kids, gasp! Eeek, getting old. Anyhoo, here is a picture I took on my friend's deck looking back into her house. There are some faux fireflies in the jar. So cute!

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    Scenes from Childhood

    The farm across the street from our old neighborhood. I often saw moo moo cows grazing on the grass there...

    To my fellow Angelenos: these green things are called trees, and this is not a picture taken from another planet, just another state. I probably drove on this road to school hundreds of times.

    There it is, my high school... sniff sniff... Go Patriots!

    Amish in Maryland

    I've always been curious about the Amish ever since I saw the movie Witness. They seem like living fossils. Anyhoo, most Amish people do not use electricity but there are some hip Amish people as well who take full advantage of Edison's invention. Here are a few photos from an Amish market in Maryland. It's only open 3 days a week and the Amish live in a rented place for those days and then they take their buggy and go home to Lancaster!

    White Caps

    Hmmm, if I dress like her maybe I can pass off as Amish too!